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About the Zoning Board of Appeals

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is the decision-making authority for all development that requires Site Plan Approval or a Special Permit in the Neighborhood Residence, Urban Residence, Commercial Industry, Commercial Business, and Tufts University zoning districts, and is the decision-making authority for all a Hardship Variances (regardless of zoning district), and all Administrative Appeals.

Contact Information
Sarah Lewis
Director of Planning

93 Highland Ave.
Somerville, MA 02143
United States

Employee Directory

Zoning Relief and Historic Preservation-Related Applications Have Moved to Citizenserve

We are pleased to announce that we have moved Zoning Relief and Historic Preservation-Related Applications to Citizenserve. offering enhanced convenience and streamlined processing.

Learn more

Rules of Policy and Procedure 

The Zoning Board of Appeals recently updated their Rules of Policy and Procedure. These Rules establish the organization of the Board, standards of conduct, meeting schedules and management protocols, protocols for application review, and other rules as required. 

Notes for Applicants

Development Review Standards:

  • Please be advised that, per the standards set out in Article 15 of the Somerville Zoning Ordinance, a development review application is not complete until all required community and Design Review meetings have been held, all necessary information has been submitted, and all fees have been paid. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed, will not be publicly noticed, and will not be scheduled for a public hearing.
  • Planning staff will work with applicants to discuss meeting dates and review application materials.
  • Applications for large projects may require a longer review period and evaluation by multiple City departments before being deemed complete and scheduled for a public hearing.
  • Planning staff reserves the right to ask for additional information or to change meeting dates.
  • The list of anticipated public meeting dates for this Board can be found here.

Board Members

  • Orsola Susan Fontano, Chair 
  • Anne Brockelman, Vice-Chair 
  • Katherine Garavaglia, Clerk 
  • Ann Fullerton 
  • Zachary Zaremba 
  • Brian Cook, Alternate 
  • Sisia Daglian, Alternate 

Reports & Decisions

View Reports & Decisions


Zoning Board of Appeals meetings are generally held on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

Please see published legal notifications and online agendas at Agendas are published at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the meeting. The meeting dates below are tentative: meetings will only be held if there are items of business on the agenda to be addressed at the meeting, and meetings may be rescheduled or cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

Agendas and Minutes


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